Announcing the Winners of the The 2018 Peely Awards for the Worst in Pop Culture

As we ring in 2019, it’s time to move forward and look to new things. But we must also remember the year that was, and in this case its worst detritus. After two weeks of nominations, votes, reminders, and terrible embedded videos and images, the 2018 Peely Awards have come to an end. Your participation has led to a wide crowd of winners and nominees covering a wide spectrum of art and material, the vast majority of which is terrible.

There were a great many awful pop cultural things this year. We had a demeaning and insulting video game about deaf people, some particularly irritating memes, and something called “Speed Kills VR.” Show Dogs had to be edited while it was in theaters to remove a joke that called to mind child molestation; Roseanne was gutted partway through its season due to its lamentable, hateful star. Hell, the year even had the newest awful video game by David Cage! But truly, the bad of 2018 was dominated by a few titans of awfulness. Bethesda openly extolled how unfinished their latest massive game was, a Venom movie powered by years of attrition was filled with arrogance and ego, and a John Gotti biopic of an almost impossible terribleness directed by E from Entourage is the first Trumpian gangster movie. But more than all was Fantastic Beasts 2, a Harry Potter sequel for which few asked and which turned into a petri dish of heinous, asinine ideas. With its awful politics, turgid writing, and continued employment of Johnny Depp it does well to remind us of how bad art can be, to better understand and laud the good. Those last two movies helped close out truly noxious works from a greater and arguably more deserved presence – Life Itself, which utterly deserved shellacking of the highest order, had negligible presence for wins and nominations – though a wide range of products and productions did get to stand and be counted. Once again, as a community we’ve shown a great ability to explore art and artists great and small.

With all that said, here are the winners and the top four runners up (top nine for Worst Film, and additional entries in case of ties). These are hidden behind spoiler tags for ease of reading, and in the case of categories with images or videos, only the top one was included; the others will be linked to. In addition, in the case of situations where the same nominee was put forth twice for the same category, we’ve combined those to provide a winner. But before you check them out, I just wish to thank both Lily “Lovely” Bones for her incredible aid with the final tallying and you all so much for joining in with this.

Winners and Runners Up

1. The Roland Emmerich Endless Array of Boom Award for Worst Blockbuster Movie (Palmer_Eldritch33)

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (18)
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (15)
  • |234|)Y P14Y3|2 0|\|3 [Ready Player One] (14)
  • Venom (7)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (5)

2. The Resentful, Middle-Aged White Man Doing Some Crimes Award For Least Prestigious Prestige TV Series (Captain Video)

  • The Walking Dead (25)
  • Altered Carbon (7)
  • The Romanoffs (5)
  • Here and Now

3. The Now Goku’s Totally Gonna Die in THIS Fight Award for Thing You Most Regret Bothering to Finish (Captain Video)

  • The Batman / Catwoman wedding (4)
  • Supergirl (2)
  • A Certain Magical Index (2)
  • Altered Carbon (2)
  • Making a Murderer, Season 2 (2)

4. The Remembering the Burning Halcyon Days Award for Series That Cratered the Hardest (Wes Lawson)

  • Jurassic Park / World (11)
  • Westworld (10)
  • The Last Man on Earth (6)
  • The Walking Dead (6)
  • Forever (5)

5. The They Tried Hard Award for Worst Return for the Effort Put In (Gougagna)

  • A Wrinkle in Time (19)
  • Welcome to Marwen (14)
  • The ~10 years spent trying to get The Happytime Murders made (10)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (5)
  • The Grinch (4)

6. The Getting the Collaboration of Michael Shannon for your Sub-Mediocre Movie Award for Biggest Missed Opportunity (Captain Video)

  • A Wrinkle in Time (16)
  • Ocean’s Eight (9)
  • Solo: a Star Wars Story (8)
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising (7)
  • Venom (5)

7. The “Why Even Bother Adding Actual Characters to Your RPG?” Award for Most Egregious Cash Grab (Zero)

  • The PlayStation Classic (18)
  • Solo: a Star Wars Story (13)
  • The trailers for The Lion King and Aladdin (11)
  • Metal Gear Survive (9)
  • Once Upon a Deadpool (8)
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (8)

8. The Breaking the Holes of Expectations Award for Worst Line of Dialogue in a Terrible Work

  • Solo: a Star Wars Story (27):
    • “Name?”
    • “Han.”
    • “‘Han’ what?”
    • “…”
    • “Who are your people?”
    • “… I have no people. I’m alone.”
    • “… Han… Solo”
  • “The ultimate unreliable narrator is…. life itself,” Life Itself (22)
  • “He was 12 years old. He didn’t even have any hair on his prick,” Gotti (15)
  • “Break their holes,” Gotti (11)
  • “My god is bigger than your statistics” – 15:17 to Paris (9)

9. The Palpable Disappointment Award for Worst Line of Dialogue in an Otherwise Good Work

  • Wilson Fisk talking about the allegations against him being Fake News, Daredevil (13)
  • “No one thinks we have the balls to pull this off,” Widows (4)
  • “We’ve been together our whole lives, Starr. We got time.” (almost immediately before getting shot), The Hate U Give (1)

10. The “Oh god, oh man!” Award for Worst Line Reading (DemiDeva)

  • “When I get out of here, and I will, there’s gonna be carnage!,” Woody Harrelson, Venom (19)
  • “ET PHONE HOME ALIENS YEAH” – Tom Hardy, Venom (5)
  • “America’s hybrids…silent, but deadly,” A Simple Favor (4)
  • “Have a nice life,” Venom (3)
  • Literally every single line reading in the original English dub for A.I.C.O. -Incarnation-, as Netflix inexplicably used only first takes for the original dub (3)

11. The Okay, Sure, We’re Casting Mike Myers in 2018 Award for Worst Actor (Owen1120)

  • Johnny Depp, every year until either he or this award is retired [in this case specifically for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Sherlock Gnomes] (23)
  • John Travolta, basically fucking everything but especially Gotti (15)
  • Brian George, I Feel Bad (3)
  • Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns (2)
  • Alison Sudol, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (1)
  • Tom Hardy, Venom (1)
  • Mike Myers, Terminal (1)

12. The Tom Brokaw Memorial Award for an Artist’s Exposed History of Abuse Ruining Something in Retrospect (BannerThief)

  • Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean (31)
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None (26)
  • Neil Degrasse Tyson, various works (8)
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter (3)

13. The Interminable Courtroom or Speech Scene for Worst Attempt at Emotional Manipulation (Shit-Master Slootfaas)

  • The snap, Avengers: Infinity War (10)
  • Adding fanservice to already gratuitous rape scenes, Goblin Slayer (9)
  • The multiple “eviscerations by car” of women in Life Itself (7)
  • The balloons scene, Mary Poppins Returns (5)
  • Apple’s “Share your Gifts” ad (3)

14. The Archaic Rickroll Award for 2018 Work You Believe Will Have Aged the Hardest by 2038 (Captain Video)

  • SNL‘s preoccupation with opening most weeks with a Trump sketch, along with Alec Baldwin’s….performance (19)
  • Ready Player One (12)
  • All those Trump books (11)
  • The Logan Paul boxing match…? (10)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet (10)

15. The “Cool, Edgy, and Radical” Award for Worst Attempt to Pander to a Certain Demographic (kevzero)

  • Tumblr pruding up the place to please the corporate overlords (31)
  • Firing James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (30)
  • The Heathers TV show attempting to appeal to Cool Teens by being all about how LGBT people are bullies out to get “normal” kids (24)
  • Millennial Monopoly, though this somewhat depends on whether you assume the intended demographic was actually Millennials or Boomers (15)
  • Conservatives trying to pander to hip hop fans after Kanye West wore the MAGA hat (14)

16. The One that Was in Tumblr’s Bag Award for Worst Corporate Double-Speak (kevzero)

  • “Female-Presenting Nipples,” Tumblr (42)
  • Dan Houser’s backpedalling about 100-hour workweeks at Rockstar Games once his comments caused controversy (11)

17. The Award whose Letters Are Just a Jumble of Incoherent Action Beats for Worst Poster (BannerThief)

  • Ready Player One (29)

18. The Excitement Quicksand and Jumpy Editing Award for Worst Trailer (kevzero)

19. The Margaret Wente Memorial Award for Worst Thinkpiece [Note: we at Peely Central will not link to these. If you want to subject yourself, you’ll have to look them up yourselves] (Merve)

  • Ross Douthat, “The Redistribution of Sex” (21)
  • Bill Maher’s “obituary” for Stan Lee (17)
  • Dark horse pick: Insane Evangelical (and, if his posts are correct, full-time high school history teacher) Peter Heck of The Resurgent (10)
  • The Cut‘s “galaxy-brain” terrible article on Priyanka Chopra marrying Nick Jonas which got deleted because it was so offensive and bad (10)
  • Chris Cillizza’s Twitter feed and all accompanying articles (8)

20. The “Yes, Gotti Really WAS that Bad” Award for Worst Use of Popular Music in a Work (Owen1120)

  • When everyone dances to Pitbull in the party that takes place in 1984, Gotti (13)
  • Gotti leaving court, after the judge says “looks like you’re gonna walk,” to “Walk Like an Egyptian,” Gotti (11)
  • Gotti murdering a man in the shower set to the Shaft theme, Gotti (10)
  • “West End Girls,” Gotti (7)
  • “Burning Down the House” in The Handmaid’s Tale (6)

21. The Please Just SHUT UP, Waluigi Fans Award for Worst Fan Behavior (Wolfman Jew)

  • Brett Kavanaugh “fans” forcing Christine Blasey-Ford out of her job and home (41)
  • Starwars fans feeling vindicated after Solo “bombed” (22)
  • White supremacy (20)
  • The Doctor Who community’s response to Jodie Whitaker and her first season, especially the Rosa Parks episode (20)
  • Comicsgate (19)

22. 7/10 Award for most Unremarkable Piece of Media (Merve)

  • Tag (11)
  • Christopher Robin (6)
  • Nutcracker and the Four Realms (6)
  • Uncle Drew (5)
  • Game Night (4)

22. The Gotti Corollary of “Wow, Venom Was Kind of Great At Points?” Award for Worst Moment that’s Still Satisfying in a Lizard-Brain Kind of Way (Lovely Bones)

  • “Like a turd in the wind” being the fucking ENDING OF THE MOVIE, Venom (18)
  • The Carnage post-credits scene, “When I get out, there’s gonna be carnage,” Venom (16)
  • Watching Tom Hardy eat a live lobster while sitting IN the lobster tank, holding a conversation with his ex, Venom (16)
  • At the end of Show Dogs, A TIGER FLIES A HELICOPTER (11)
  • The song “Venom” from the credits of the movie of the same name (6)

24. The Begrudging Acceptance that Something You Know is Painfully Awful Is Still Kinda Enjoyable Award for Worst Movie You Liked Anyway (Owen1120)

  • Venom (18)
  • Solo: a Star Wars Story (8)
  • Gotti (6)
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (6)
  • The Hurricane Heist (6)

25. The Ire at Something Terrible Being Given to You Like a Gift Award for Worst “Joke” in a “Comedy” (Owen1120)

  • “We missed all the shows about black and Asian families,” Roseanne (17)
  • The ejaculation scene, The Happytime Murders (14)
  • Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly try to hide the queen’s corpse after, ha ha, taking a “selfie” with her, Holmes & Watson (9)
  • Visual gag puppet who is a product of incest, The Happytime Murders (6)
  • Characters downloading a black-light ‘app’ for a joke about hotel room jizz, Ibiza (4)

26. The Horror at Looking into the Eyes of a Hellish Perspective on Humanity Award for Worst Moral (Shit-Master Slootfaas)

  • We shouldn’t prosecute high level murderous gangsters because – as they actively work to threaten civilians – you can only get the evidence of convicted, lower level mob associates, who will then be free to murder the same innocent people the high level gangsters are threatening, Gotti (23)
  • “Wanting to prevent the Holocaust makes you the real Nazis,” Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (20)
  • The government stopping untrained superheroes is discrimination, The Incredibles 2 (14)
  • “Batman isn’t allowed to be happy or move on from his grief in any way,” Tom King’s run on Batman (11)
  • “Pop music helps cause terrorism!” – Vox Lux, I think? (9)
  • “Better not get too successful lest your husband’s perception of inauthenticity / professional jealousy exacerbate his substance abuse and ultimately kill him,” A Star Is Born (9)

27. The Really, Really Bad Reading of how Products of Art and Culture Function, Yo Award for Worst Pop Culture Merch (El Santo)

  • Sexy The Handmaid’s Tale costumes (28)
  • Funko Pops (17)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale brand wines from Lot18 (16)
  • Fallout 76’s nylon bag (11)
  • Anything by the Paul Brothers (6)

28. The Vaseline Covered Screen with a C-list R&B Song Playing Award for Least Sexy Thing Intended to be Sexy (Ecksmuss Kookeez)

  • The continued existence of the song “Santa Baby” (27)
  • Any of the Kardashians (11)
  • Female adventurers getting raped by Goblins, Goblin Slayer (11)
  • Women’s Halloween costumes (2)

29. The Award for the Inability to See Your own Limitations before Making the Worst Thematic Treatment (Eric Pharland)

  • The motivations of neo-Nazis, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (15)
  • Racism, Detroit: Become Human (11)
  • The “unreliable narrator,” Life Itself (6)
  • Environmentalism, gender politics, demographics, scientific progress, authoritarianism… really, take your pick, Darling in the FRANXX (6)
  • Xenophobia, Supergirl

30. The Having a Robot as a Literal Prop to Make a Cheap Tract About Bigotry Award for Worst Depiction of a Minority (Shit-Master Slootfaas)

  • Autism as a superpower, The Predator (27)
  • A Jewish witch who brainwashes a muggle into marriage, and later comfortably joins a Nazi muggle-murdering wizard, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (23)
  • An Indonesian woman, cast with a Korean actress, whose sole motive is her attraction to a white man and who is destined to be the slave of another white man, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (23)
  • Gay wizard that the filmmakers are so desperate to put back in the closet they were willing to nullify their entire established backstory, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (10)
  • Detroit Become Human, for how its fictionalized android characters exist solely to both exploit centuries of real and painful gender and racial stereotypes for its poorly told message and simply indulge in those stereotypes on no other level than shock value. (9)

31. The ”She’s Actually 500 Years Old” Award for Most Flimsy Justification for Problematic Content (Dramus18)

  • Multiple things, including defenses of genocidal murderers and a man having a child with a woman he kidnapped on the Titanic, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (18)
  • A Futile and Stupid Gesture constantly breaking the fourth wall to remind the audience that how racist and sexist these people really were doesn’t mitigate the fact that a film glorifies these racist and sexist people without dealing with those issues in any real way (7)
  • Goblin Slayer (5)

32. J.K. Rowling Award for most unnecessary rewriting of backstory (Shit-Master Slootfaas)

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (29)
  • Freddie Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis before LiveAID, Bohemian Rhapsody (22)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (21)
  • Suggesting that John Gotti’s life functionally only matters in relation to that of his son, fellow gangster John Gotti, Jr., Gotti (12)
  • Digimon Adventure tri, by ignoring everything in Digimon Adventure 02 and then justifying it in the last ten minutes of the sixth film by saying the 02 characters had been kidnapped the entire time. (6)

33. The Barely Known Anime for which You’re Really Excited Crashing and Burning Award for Most Obscure Disappointment (Captain Video)

  • Porky Minch most likely not being in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s DLC lineup (6)
  • Early Man (5)
  • The Secret of Mana remake (4)
  • The Gifted (3)
  • Stargate Origins (3)

34. The Still Mad about Having to Put all those Terrible Posters Together in One Image Award for Single Most Infuriating Element of Ready Player One (Wolfman Jew)

  • The villain being revealed as evil because he’s a “fake geek” who doesn’t really care about all the Eighties culture the film fetishizes. (27)
  • “Oh man, my best friend is actually a g-g-g-girl” (19)
  • The source material being beneath Steven Spielberg (19)
  • The sequence for The Shining. Ugly CGI, a complete misunderstanding of the film’s imagery, a treatment of a slow burn horror classic like a cheap roller coaster, and a stinger joke where the main character makes fun of his (easily scared) friend for not having watched The Shining. (15)
  • Making the Iron Giant, a character who famously turns away from violence, a gun (13)

35. The Skyscrapers of DC Award for Worst Attempt at Geographic Obfuscation (Shit-Master Slootfaas)

  • Cincinnati poorly filling in for New York City in Gotti, a film literally about a notorious New York Cty gangster and staple (10)
  • Altered Carbon, for trying to make the audience believe that the show took place in an actual futuristic city, not a shitty studio lot (7)
  • Mile 22, for using Bogotá Colombia that isn’t about the drug trade as a double for a generic city somewhere in Asia

36. The Shock Travolta Wasn’t Nominated for this of all Cockamamie Things Award for Worst Wardrobe, Hair, and / or Makeup (Shit-Master Slootfaas)

  • Post Malone (17)
  • Donald and Melania Trump (14)
  • Tekashi 6ix.9ine (13)
  • Robin Hood (5)
  • Terminal
  • The Carnage wig, Venom

37. The Static Storyboard Images Pulling the Night Shift Award for Worst Animation (Merve)

  • Watership Down (2018) (15)
  • Berserk (5)
  • The Grinch (5)
  • Elf Pets: Santa’s St. Bernards Save Christmas (3)
  • The Dragon Prince (3)

38. The Ever Ceaseless, Ever Glorious Award for Worst Title for an Eric Roberts Movie released in 2018

  • Stalked By My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge (10)
  • Taco Shop (7)
  • Head Full of Honey (5)
  • Beautifully Broken (4)
  • The Not So Good Samaritan (3)

39. The Drowning in a Miserable Sea inside a “Purple Monkey Dishwasher” Award for Least Dank Meme (Captain Video)

  • Laurel / Yanny (13)
  • Ugandan Knuckles (11)
  • “Triggered” GIFs
  • “Gamers rise up” (8)
  • The goddamn moths (6)
  • Real life people as “NPCs” (6)

40. The Showing up Solely to Demean all those in your Petty Radius Award for Most Unjustified Arrogance (Merve)

  • Kevin Spacey’s stupid video (48)
  • Every #MeToo creep trying to make a comeback/get people to feel bad for them (36)
  • Kanye West’s MAGA turn, including saying slavery was a choice and wanting to abolish the 13th amendment (30)
  • “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” The Simpsons‘ worst possible response to the Apu controversy (30)
  • That guy [who shall remain nameless here] that attempted to convert the Sentinelese to Evangelical Christianity (29)
  • Brett Kavanaugh (29)

41. Worst Video Game of 2018

  • Fallout 76 (19)
  • Detroit: Become Human (12)
  • Super Seducer: How to Talk to Girls (12)
  • The Quiet Man (5)
  • We Happy Few (4)
  • Secret of Mana (2018) (4)

42. Worst Television Series or Season of 2018

  • Heathers (17)
  • The X Files Season 11 (12)
  • Insatiable (7)
  • Goblin Slayer (4)
  • Ghosted (3)

43. Worst Album of 2018

  • “That one 6ix.9ine did” [there were actually two: Day 69 and Dummy Boy] (10)
  • Eminem, Kamikaze and Revival (5)
  • Fall Out Boy, MANIA (5)
  • The A Star is Born soundtrack (4)
  • Animal Collective, Tangerine Reef (2)

44. Worst Book of 2018

  • Sean Penn, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff (the book) (14)
  • JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the screenplay (10)
  • James Frey, Katerina (5)

45. Worst Film of 2018

  • Death of a Nation (35)
  • Gotti (33)
  • Holmes & Watson (21)
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (18)
  • Ready Player One (16)
  • The Happytime Murders (14)
  • Death Wish (13)
  • Peter Rabbit (12)
  • 15:17 to Paris (8)
  • Sherlock Gnomes (7)

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